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But those operations have gone the way of the horse and buggy, replaced by modern, techno-savvy entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of a virtually limitless market.

Though the term "secretarial service" has a strong degree of consumer recognition, it's no longer an appropriate description of the industry.

And the list of services they use is limited only by your imagination and personal preferences.

You'll also hear terms such as "administrative support services" and "office support services" applied to this industry.

In 1998, the National Association of Secretarial Services changed its name to the Association of Business Support Services International. Smith says, "We felt that 'business support services' did a better job than 'secretarial services' of covering the scope of our members' services and bringing more respectability to the profession."Of course, the size of the market for business support services is difficult to estimate for a number of reasons--primarily because the U. Bureau of the Census mixes other types of businesses with business support services.

Over the span of the 20th century, the administrative demands of doing business have grown tremendously, creating a need for secretarial and clerical support.

With the advent of desktop computers and increasingly sophisticated office equipment, the skill and knowledge requirements of secretaries have also increased.

Some of these services could be businesses in and of themselves; others are ancillary to a primary service.

Listen to your clients; they'll let you know what they need, and then you can decide if you can provide it.

Also, the providers, services and customers are constantly evolving with technological advances.

The secretarial service of the 1960s and 1970s, when a good electric typewriter was pretty much all you needed, wouldn't get off the ground today.

Students working on particularly long papers, such as graduate theses or dissertations, are strong candidates for your service.

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